Terry Ilous - XYZ

December 28, 2005


Photo Credit: Terry Ilous

It's great to hear from you again.

Thank you.

The last time I talked to you, we talked about your Letter To God CD.

Oh my God, yeah.

What have you been doing since then?

We've done lots of shows. We toured a lot. Been busy doing I guess a new album called Forbidden Demos and what else. God, I'm working on lots of music for different films. What else? Putting a family together. Lots of things.

Are you expecting then?

No, I'm adopting a child.

That is awesome.

Yes, I'm adopting a child from China.

That is so awesome. You're on the Hollywood Rocks box set.

Yeah, I have a song on it called "Inside Out". It's actually a demo version of that song off the album. I gave the rights to Cleopatra Records.

How did you get hooked up with that?

I know Tim Yasui who is the product manager at Cleopatra Records and he basically gets all the bands and he knew there was one band he didn't get a hold of. I don't know why he didn't call me right away. There's this thing about us. Sometimes people are afraid to get a hold of us. I don't know why. He got a hold of me and said he was putting this thing together and wanted to find out if I'd be interested in releasing a song but it has to be the demo off the album. I said I have lots of different songs so how about "Inside Out" and he said he was hoping I'd give him that one. So we made a financial arrangement of course. They're making money so I have to make mine also. We have the song and that's it. Then after that, they gave me the idea also to put an album together called Forbidden Demos. They were actually demos of the albums that came out between 1985 to 1991 when the band basically broke up. The reason for that album also is very simple. It's because when the band was formed on the East coast actually, we hired a guitar player at the time. He was from the East coast. His name is Bobby and he's from Connecticut. We did some demos with him and I wrote a lot of songs and he co-wrote some of them but most of the time I wrote all of the songs. He got a hold of a copy of the original demos. He went ahead and released a CD called The Rainy Day without asking my permission or asking anyone's permission basically. He just went ahead and did it and it's a bootleg. It's a really terrible thing. You can hardly hear the music. The quality of the recording is terrible. It was recorded 20 years ago and keep in mind, we didn't have much of a budget so we just went from studio to studio to keep cheap production. He went ahead and released that without my authorization or anyone's authorization and called that the new XYZ CD and blah, blah, blah, before they were signed. Using my name, pictures, and songs he never re-recorded. There are some of the songs he did not even play on the album actually. I got a hold of it through my bass player Pat who said Jesus Christ, that's terrible. He's using the name and what can we do about it. I said I can sue his ass so I called my attorney and he said it would cost me about 20,000 dollars to sue him and he checked him out and he doesn't have much assets. He doesn't have anything. He said I could spend 20,000 dollars and I'm going to win but I'm not going to make any money off that. I said fuck it, I'm just going to give up. Then my bass player Pat said "don't you have all the masters and everything at your home?" I said yeah and he said why don't I do the same thing. I said damn right and did so in order to save the band's name because he really damaged the sound. It was terrible. I had to release an album called Forbidden Demos. It has the demos of all the songs that were never released or songs that got released like "Inside Out" and all the stuff from the first and second albums. The original versions of demos and what I did was I remixed and remastered everything in order to give the fans a very good quality CD. Actually it's one of the better demo CDs you can get on the market right now. I spent lots of hours remastering or remixing everything. The people seem to be happy about that. I'm not doing it for money, believe me. There's no money to be made because it costs me so much money to remaster and remix some of the tracks but at least it's an official release and at least people can get a hold of something that's decent versus a crappy album.

When fans are really into a band, like I'm a huge KISS fan, so any kind of demos or unreleased shit that you can get your hands on is awesome to have because it's something else you have of the band. I'm sure for any hard core XYZ fan, what you put out is really cool for them.

Absolutely. I feel the same. I have some bands that I absolutely admire. I remember growing up I used to love Led Zeppelin and I got a hold of some bootlegs and I was like "fuck, I have a bootleg." Someone told me they knew someone at so and so studio that's going to hook me up with the real thing. And he did. He got me a hold of a recording by Jimmy Page. I was like "oh my God, it's the real stuff." I was all excited and I still have it. When you're a fan, you're a fan for life. You really love the band. I didn't want my fans to buy something that is not an XYZ CD and getting ripped off because the quality was bad. He was running that on his website for 18 dollars and I was like Jesus Christ. He sold a lot of them. People bought them right away. They were like "oh my God, it's the original XYZ." It was terrible. At the time I came to New York I did not speak English at all. The funny thing about that is there's a song called "Wild" and my English was so bad that instead of saying "wild" I said "wide". "Wide, I want you wide." People thought I was singing to big girls.

Either that or something else.

I listened to the recording because I got a hold of the CD and I never really listened to these demos since 1985. I never did. I listened to that and I was laughing so hard. "Wide, I want you wide." I thought it was funny.

When I was in high school I took a course in French because my mom is from Europe and she wanted me to have a taste of learning different languages. I'm sitting in there in French class one day and my teacher wanted us to say some stuff in French. I made the mistake of saying "Je suis chaud." That woman busts out laughing and I come to find out that means I'm hot all right.

I'm hot like a brick. It's je chaud. Je suis chaud doesn't mean the same thing. You say that to a French person and they're like "wow, cool."

The guys got a kick out of that one.

Oh, I'm sure they did. If you would have been an exchange student, you would have been a very popular person.

Yeah, I would have been in some serious trouble.

That or having a good time. I don't know. I'm sure you were a popular person.

I tell you what, when you're speaking a different language you have to watch out.

There have been many things. I will never forget the first time I had a date here and this lady said we couldn't have sex because we just met but why don't we have oral sex. I said oh, that sounds great. I started talking and I talked all night.

That's not quite what she had in mind.

Not really. The next day she talked to a friend of hers and she said that guy is the biggest idiot. She said all I did was talk and I said well, that's what she wanted. She said oral sex. I thought she meant talk about it. I never saw her again.

Oh well, that's just as well. Apparently you wound up meeting a really wonderful lady.

Yeah, I'm married. I'm happy. I live in Los Angeles and things are okay. Nothing is pink of course every day but there's nothing pink every day anyway. Life is like that.

Absolutely. You were supposed to be on tour way back with Every Mother's Nightmare and something went wrong.

Oh my God, terribly wrong. Are you kidding? What happened basically is, the band Every Mother's Nightmare is actually nice people though they drink quite a lot. I guess that's the way they are. They drink a lot actually but it's okay. They're nice people. The guy that put the tour together was also their tour manager. The tour manager was the booking agent as well. He decided to get us on tour as XYZ and I said okay, I'll do it. He booked a lot of dates and things were very nice and very kosher on paper. I was very happy. It was great. Turned out one day he said "well, if you're coming to St. Louis for the first date, you're going to have to fly yourself." I said okay and he said if I want him to help me, he gets discounts left and right. I said great. So he said "I booked you with flight so and so. What's your credit card number so I can process the flight." So I gave him my credit card number. I figured since we're going to be working together I might as well trust him. Okay, things are fine and then three weeks down the line, first of all nothing was organized correctly as far as the dates. Some dates we didn't even know we're supposed to be playing there. The guy said "well, we just booked you three days ago." It was a complete nightmare. One day I receive my credit card statement. I was on the road and my wife said "did you charge that kind of money on your credit card? Did you charge a tour bus on your credit card?" I'm like no. When the guy got a hold of my credit card he charged a tour bus on it. The deposit. He said he made a mistake and meant to use his mom's credit card. He said he got them mixed up which was a fucking lie. Whenever you make a deposit over the phone they ask you for the name on the credit card. First and last name. When he made the deposit he knew it was not his mom's. His mom is named Terry Ilous? That's odd. It was a big thing and I got my money back eventually after four months. Fighting with my credit card company and having the cops talking to me about it's fraud but they believe I did it. They thought I just didn't want to be in the tour bus and I was like what? What he did, he knew I would call the cops so he immediately went to the cops and protected himself. The cops investigated and got back to me eventually and they found out it was not the first time he did that. He did it to other bands and he did it to other people. Whatever. That's 4,000 or 5,000 dollars but who cares. That's my mistake and it taught me a good lesson.

Yeah, it sure did. That's pathetic.

It's what it is. It's a strange world. The music business is a strange world.

You were just on tour recently weren't you?

Yeah, I did some dates. I did a few dates left and right. I went to New York to do a charity show for Rock For Christmas. Eddie Money was there and other celebrities. I did four songs on stage as a jam and that was it. To raise some money for a good cause.

Weren't you supposed to be on the road with Don Dokken and Ron Keel?

Oh my God, yeah we were. All right. We were. Tell you what happened is we booked a tour with Ron Keel, one guy from the Bullet Boys, myself, and a singer named Kelly Keeling who used to be in different bands. He used to be with Michael Schenker, Baton Rouge, and a few others. Nice guy and a great singer too. We booked a tour and my tour manager lives in New Orleans. He was the one with a tour bus. We had a tour bus together and stuff. Katrina happened and we didn't hear from my tour manager all of a sudden. We're still in town and were leaving 10 days after that so we didn't know what to do. We hadn't heard back from him and were wondering if he's still alive. We offered Don to do some tours with us but we offered him a lot of money. Way more than he's getting, there's no doubt about it. He accepted to do the dates with us and to be the headliner. However, he double booked himself. He did the dates with us. He thought he'd be able to make some money with us and also book another tour at the same time with somebody else doing different dates at the time but the same venues. He told us he hadn't heard back from our tour manager so he must be dead and the tour is going to be canceled. We told him we couldn't be doing that. We've got press and even if the tour manager is dead, we can still put the tour together because we'll get enough tour buses and all the dates are booked, the hotels are booked, and everything is taken care of. We had commitments with another tour bus company who said they'd give us a bus and take care of us because it's a good cause. We decided that with Katrina, we would have to change our plans. The money we would be raising from that tour would be given to the victims of Katrina. Everybody was happy with that and we even told Don that if he wanted to give a little bit of his money to the victims he would be more than welcome because I will give 50 percent of what I make to the people. It's not a lot of money but every night after doing a month of shows, it's going to be tens of thousands so he said he wasn't interested. Don does not take my phone calls or emails. I don't know why. He has blocked my emails so all I know is that he was talking to Ron Keel. I guess Ron and Don didn't get along at all and Don backed out and said he wasn't doing the tour anymore. We asked him what he was doing then and that he never told us he double booked himself. He was surprised that we knew about it. We knew about it because we called his agent and his agent was surprised he didn't tell us that because it was a conflict of interest. He knew damn well that there was no way he could do the tour. To make a long story short, there was a problem and we had to cancel everything because we couldn't find a headliner in such a short period of time. There was no way. We called different people but everybody said they couldn't do it. Whatever.

That is so sad.

To be honest with you, I have not talked to Don since then and I am not upset at him. I'm not upset at anybody. The way I look at it is he had his reasons and God bless him. I am not a vindictive person and he had his reasons. He had to look after himself and he did just that and I salute him for that. I am a different person. I like to give because I believe giving is receiving. He did what he had to do and I don't criticize him. It's all water under the bridge now. It's no big deal. It's not like I'm a good friend of Don's. I have no jealousy. I only have respect for him. He's managed his career very well and I respect that.

He has enough problems of his own.

Yeah, he's got lots of problems of his own and who am I to criticize. I just give it the fact that he double booked himself and never told us but I have nothing bad to say about him really. I respect him as a professional singer and really haven't seen Don in fucking 12 or 13 years. I don't even know what he looks like these days. I have no idea. I'm doing other things. I'm in the film business and I do other things. Sometimes I wonder why I'm wasting my time with all these little things. Whatever.

You're keeping your name out there. You said you were doing some stuff for some films.

I am. I have a big thing coming up. The film business is what I want to do more and more and more.

Have you ever thought about being an actor?

I do a lot of acting actually. At one point I was doing too much. I was taking over the music part of it and I did lots of soap operas and I was a regular on Passion. I did a bunch of things like that. Lots of theater work. I said it's either music or that so I stopped completely. Now I'm getting older and thinking maybe I should go back to that because I'm not that bad. I feel that I'm not a terrible actor. I'm not so bad. If Tori Spelling made it, I can make it. Then again my dad is not that famous. That's about it.

What do you see in your near future?

More film work. Lots of film work. I'm releasing an album in February. It's going to have lots of different tracks that were not released recently that I've recorded with Randy Castillo of Ozzy. People that I've worked with in the past. It's a compilation of the best of basically. Things that I have done on my first and second albums and it's coming out in March I would say.

Any other thoughts or comments?

I wish great things for 2006.

Terry Ilous